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House Continues Regulatory Reform Push

On December 5th, the House passed HR 3010, the second of the three “regulatory reform” bills.  As reported in last week’s Update, this measure amends the Administrative Procedures Act to require that Federal agencies base regulatory determinations on evidence, consider alternatives that may be less expensive to that which is proposed, and require an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for any major (>$100M) or high impact (>$1B) rule.

The third reform bill, HR 10 the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act”, passed the House on Wednesday, December 7th.  Considered by some to be the most ambitious of the three measures, this measure requires Congressional approval of all major rules before they take effect.  “Major rule” is defined as any rule, including an interim final rule, that has resulted in or is likely to result in:  1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; 2) a major increase in costs or prices; or 3) a significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or U.S. competitiveness.  REINS also includes provisions that if Congressional approval does not take place within a certain timeframe, then the rule cannot take effect.

Both of these bills now move to the Senate for consideration.  It is unlikely that they will receive favorable attention given that the President has already warned of vetoes for legislation intended to restrict Federal agencies’ ability to implement needed regulations.